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Spice

July 15, 2009

This morning I was browsing the beautiful photographs and quotes of a coffee table book given to me by a friend.  The book is a calendar of sorts, with a photo and quote to go with each day of the year.  All of the photos are from Latin America, and the quotes are by Latin American poets, authors, and religious leaders. 

One of the quotes I came across over breakfast immediately drew me in: 

“Soon after being born we feel we are a fragment detached from something more vast and intimate, and a desire to return to that totality from which we were ripped.”  (Octavio Paz)

Paz’s words resonate with the feelings of intimacy with the landscape that I expressed in my blog entry last evening.  The sense I get when I ascend the hill behind my house, or ride the hills on horseback, is that I am connected with something much larger than myself, and not only much larger, but also timeless.  I feel connected to the essence of being, of existence, and it is a completely exhilarating feeling that rises in my chest like the swell of a romantic kiss. 

Another quote that caught my attention is by a Sierra Grande shaman:

“Rigor won’t lead you where you want to go, and neither will asceticism, suffering, or what you think you’ve understood.  Spice will lead you.  The flavor of the loving force.”

I adore the last two phrases:  “Spice will lead you.  The flavor of the loving force.”  I’ve always believed that there is some sort of force – not so much a god but a spirit – that enables us to experience otherwise unexplainable sensations such as love.  It’s nothing I claim to understand nor necessarily want to understand, rather something that I feel.  I always try my best to tap into that feeling and to let it guide me to the right people, places, jobs, activities, and so on; to find and taste the flavor of love in others and to allow others to taste its goodness in me.  Love is a spice like red chili, from which just a pinch is enough to flavor a whole meal, to lighten a whole day.  And I like that the shaman used the word “spice”; there is much more to love than simple kindness and romance, something invigorating and enticing derived from the experience of connecting with other humans and creatures that makes me smile, wink, dance, and dream.

Seek and pursue those people, places, jobs, and activities which foster that good feeling in you.  It, more than any other route we can follow, is the road to happiness.  Those good feelings have served as my compass throughout my life, taking me to places I never necessarily expected to land, such as southeastern Montana, a place where I alighted briefly each summer but left with such a strong feeling of hope and positivity that I finally returned to stay. 

Let the spice of life lead you.

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